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Contraceptive Side-Effects

In the developing world, millions of women discontinue hormonal contraception due to the experience of debilitating physiological side-effects (e.g. excessive and irregular bleeding), yet the causes of these adverse effects is not known. This project aims to test the hypothesis that side-effects are caused by unnecessarily high dosage of exogenous hormones in hormonal contraceptives compared with women’s endogenous hormones, with the aims of accumulating primary evidence for optimizing contraception to communities and individuals. The research focuses on the use of injectables in Ethiopia, where unmet needs for contraception reach the highest levels in Africa.

This project is in collaboration with Dr Eshetu Gurmu (co-PI) from Addis Ababa University and Rose Stevens (DPhil candidate, University of Oxford). See our first workshop here. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the project has been put on pause for the time being.

Our panel of expert advisors for the project include Dr Sissay (Gynecologist, Ethiopia), Dr Tamrat (Microbiologist, Ethiopia), Dr Smith (LSHTM, UK), Dr Vitzthum (Indiana University, USA), Dr Sear (LSHTM, UK) and Dr Cresswell (WHO).

Relevant publications

  • Anaemic women are more at risk of injectable contraceptive discontinuation due to side-effects in Ethiopia Rose Stevens, Blandine Malbos, Eshetu Gurmu, Jérémie Riou, Alexandra Alvergne medRxiv 2020.10.28.20221523; doi:
  • Alvergne, A., Stevens, R. & Gurmu, E. Side effects and the need for secrecy: characterising discontinuation of modern contraception and its causes in Ethiopia using mixed methods. Contracept Reprod Med 2, 24 (2017).
Alex Alvergne
Research Scientist in Evolution, Ecology and Health